Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lychee Tangita

Here is my entry to Sig's Mixed Drinks Monthly Blog Patrol. The original blog patrol began here.I chose this recipe from Sig's blog itself . I know it was suggested to use a recipe from somewhere else but hey I wanted to try the Lychee Tangita. Unique Lychee drink concoctions are hard to find.I was looking for a lychee cocktail recipe which was not a lychee martini and Sig's Lychee Tangita looked so appealing. I have to say that this was one of the most fun blog events. The recipe was amazing as it was but we played around with some ingredients and tried out a number of different concoctions. By the end of it my husband and I were quite pleasantly buzzed with tasting all our trials. I am posting the original recipe with my modifications that suited my taste. I am giving the variations that worked for me.


1.5 cups of Lychee juice: I initially used Rubicon lychee juice (tetra pack) and that was too dilute. Using the canned juice like Sig suggested was better.
1/2 cup Tangerine juice: My tangerine juice (from Juicy juice) did not have much tang to it. I supplemented limeade once and orange juice the other time and both worked well.
2 tblsp Lime juice
Sauza Gold Tequila - 1/4 to 1/2 cup (I reduced the tequila a bit)
10- 12 Mint leaves
1 tblsp Sugar
Crushed Ice
1 can lychees
maraschino cherries

Everything else was followed mostly as Sig did it. I added the mint leaves and sugar to a mortar and crushed it with a pestle. Then added the crushed mint and all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shook it till it was well blended.
Serving ideas:
Pour the drink into a cocktail glass. Poke a toothpick through a canned lychee and a cherry. Add to the glass. Additionally slide some lychees into the glass. Also,make a slit in one lychee and place it on the side of the glass. Poke a cocktail umbrella into it. Serve immediately.The best part of this drink is to eat the lychees in the end. Yummy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tricolor Mutton Biryani

Saturdays I usually like to make something more complicated than my usual quick and easy fare. This saturday was holi, the festival of colors. I was looking to make a biryani, something similar to what we get back home with a thick spicy gravy spread in layers between flavorful rice. I also wanted it to be colorful, it being holi and all.My mom used to often color biryani rice, using saffron to get the yellow color and food colors for other colors. I like a mild saffron flavor and so I didn't use saffron to color the rice. This dish is a little more complicated and uses a lot of pots and pans but the end product is really good.


2 cups Rice, wash and soak in water for atleast 30 minutes

Mutton 1 pound, wash.

Marinade for meat

1cup yogurt
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste

3 large Onions sliced
3 potatoes, diced into large cubes
4 large Tomatoes chopped
4 heaped teaspoons garam masala
3 tsp red chilly powder
2 teaspoons cumin-corriander powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp lime juice
saffron, a couple of strands, roast for a few minutes, add water and keep aside

For Rice

a Large pot of water
1 tblsp Oil
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cloves
2-3 green cardamoms

Food color:red/green/yellow


Wash meat. Add all ingredients of the marinade. Mix well with the meat. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes. I like to do this the night before and refrigerate the meat overnight. Really helps tenderize and flavor the meat. Add the marinated meat into a pressure cooker. Add water and cook for 4 to 5 whistles. Alternatively, add meat to a pot, add water, cover and cook till meat is tender, can take up to 3 hours.

Meanwhile heat oil in a pot. Fry potatoes till tender. Keep aside. Add sliced onions to the oil and fry till onions are dark brown in color.
Remove half the onions and keep aside. Add the meat (don't add the water yet) from the pot to the onions. Fry well. Add tomatoes and spices and keep frying for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mutton water and salt.

Cook till almost all the water dries up leaving a thick mutton gravy behind. Add the potatoes to the mutton and cook for additional 5 minutes. As the mutton dries up, heat water in a large pot. Add whole spices and oil to the water.
Bring the water to a boil. Add soaked rice and cook till rice is tender but not too well cooked. Remove and drain. Divide the rice into three portions. To one portion add red or yellow food color. Mix well. To another portion add green food color and mix well. The third portion leave white.

Mix all three rice together to form a tricolor mix.
Now take the main biryani pot. At the bottom add a layer of rice. Add some of the fried onions over it. Add about 1 tsp of saffron water. Then add the meat. Do not add too much meat just enough to form a layer.

Add second layer of rice and repeat until you reach the top of the pot. End with a rice layer. Sprinkle with fried onions and chopped cilantro. Cover with a tight lid and keep the pot on very low heat for at least an hour or so. Serve hot with a yogurt salad.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Paneer Bhurji (Scrambled Indian cheese)

You know how the task of deciding what to make for dinner is more tiresome than actually making it. I have been using a devious plan to circumvent that issue. Every day after work as I'm heading home I call my sister up to check how her day went. Then I ask her what she's making for dinner (ha ha!!). If it suits me and I have the ingredients I go home and make whatever she came up with. Saved myself all that time staring into my refrigerator deciding what to whip up. This recipe here came about after Preeti told me she's making Paneer bhurji. I realised I have this big block of paneer at home myself--yay !! So here it is, my version of paneer bhurji. Bhurji usually defines indian scrambled eggs but this is the vegetarian version of it. Paneer is a type of indian cheese (the only type we have I think) and in this recipe its grated into a consistency like minced meat and scrambled with a onion and tomato mixture.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

1/2 block of paneer gratedOne onion chopped
One tomato chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
half a green pepper finely chopped
1 pod garlic chopped
1 green chilly slit
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
chopped cilantro 1 tbslp

Heat oil. Add green chilly. Add oions and fry till golden. Add garlic, tomato and spices. Fry well for 5 minutes. Add salt and green pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes.

Add paneer and tomato paste. Scramble all ingredients well together. Cook for a few more minutes. Serve garnished with corriander and eat with hot chapatis/phulkas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blogging and Me

I didn't realize what I was getting into when I started my food blog. This food blog world man its quite a world to observe! There are the big blogs: you know those not using blogspot but have their own domain with adsense and cool graphics and features. Then there's mid-level blogs, use blogspot but have cool features and lots of visitors. Then there are people like me. New entries , no experience and a non IT professional who tries real hard to put in these html codes to make their blog better. However I don't know how much I'm into going to other blogs and leaving lame comments just to get traffic . That I don't like!! If and when I do leave a comment its because I did try their recipe or really wanted to give constructive feedback. I like people who take the time to read your recipe and let you know what they think.Comments on my own blog matter to me and if they are personal and meaningful i like that. One person I really like with this respect is Sig . Big blogger, amazing recipes and site and leaves comments that show that she took the time to at least go over your post. Thats my favorite blogger so far. I also love these food events. I'm slowly getting into it but I had a great experience with Sia's Ode to potato. When I saw my very first entry I was soooooo excited. That was fun!!

Well I'm chugging along slowly and surely. My recipes are not gourmet. I think they are more for the working woman, the Indian housewife looking for a easy recipe idea to make that night for dinner. Nothing super fancy but they sure do taste right.
Well thats it for this edition of my blogging update. If you're new into food blogging and feel like a small fish in an ocean drop me a comment, maybe we can start a new food bloggers group.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easy Mixed Vegetable Rice

If you come back really tired from work and want something super easy, nutritious and comforting--TRY THIS. I make this rice so often and its soooooooo easy :you'll love it. Pile in a bowl and eat away.You won't need anything else.


Rice 1 cup, wash well and soak for 15 minutes in water.
Frozen bag of mixed vegetables:corn, peas, carrot,lima beans etc 1 cup: thaw in water in a colander
1 tsp cumin seeds
chicken broth 2 cups (substitute vegetable broth if needed)
1 tblsp oil
1 stick cinnamon
2 cloves


Heat oil. Add cinnamon and cloves as oil heats. Add turmeric and cumin seeds to it.Then add vegetables and salt. Stir fry.Add rice. Mix. Add chicken broth. Cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for exactly 15 minutes. Rice is ready!
Its important to soak the rice before cooking or else rice won't cook well.

Chana Saar Upkari

O.K it couldn't get more Konkani than this. This is a standard Konkani dish especially loved in my home. My Maharashtrian husband loves it as well. Its easy and kills two birds with one stone by making the saar and upkari together. If you haven't tried any authentic Konkani fare yet, try this. Served with rice its simply delicioso!


2 cups Black gram/kala chana, soak in water overnight
1 cup grated coconut
6 dry red chillies (bedgi variety)
1 tsp tamarind paste /Tamicom
6 to 8 pods garlic
Water about 4-5 cups
1 tsp mustard seeds
curry leaves 5 to 6


Cook gram/chana in water by boiling or pressure cook. In either case save the water the chana is cooked in.Add the water into a blender. Add 2 dry red chillies, tamarind paste, 1/2 cup coconut, 1/4 cup cooked chanas,2 pods peeled garlic and salt. Blend together in the blender. Heat the blended saar. Then heat oil in a small pot. Add 3 to 4 pods garlic which have been pounded slightly to break open.Roast garlic till golden brown. Add to saar as saar boils and immediately cover. Saar is ready.


Heat oil with mustard seeds, curry leaves and 3 to 4 dry red chillies. When seeds sputter, add cooked chana. Stir well and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.Sprinkle in 1/4 cup shredded coconut. Mis cook till heated through. Serve with saar and rice.

Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

I wanted to make pasta with pesto but had no basil or parsley. What I did have was tons of cilantro. I came across a recipe by Rachel Ray for a cilantro pesto pasta which needed macadamia nuts (which also I did not have). So here is my revised version of cilantro pesto pasta. I added shrimp to it as well. For this pasta lover this dish was true comfort food.


Angel Hair pasta, 3/4 package, Smart taste
Large shrimp, uncooked shelled and deveined --about 20

For the pesto

1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp red chilly flakes
2 pods garlic
1 inch piece ginger
lemon juice 1 tsp


Season a large pot of water with salt. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes or till al dente. Drain pasta after it cooks. As pasta boils grind all pesto ingredients together to forma smooth green paste. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Add pepper to the oil as it heats. Add shrimp and stir fry till shrimp turns pink. Add pesto and pasta. Mix all ingredients well together. Serve hot. Easy Huh?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easy Healthy Shrikhand

I visited my aunt this past month. After a long drive we came home to a yummy Konkani dinner. For dessert she had made Shrikhand,a popular dessert in Maharashtra. Its a sweet yogurt pudding made with strained yogurt and saffron. There are many variations to the shrikhand like adding mango puree to it to make what is called "amrakhand". Since my Uncle and aunt are very health conscious in their diet, this shrikhand was fat free and sugar free AND it was delicious. I couldn't taste the Splenda in it or even tell it was fat free (no believe me i'm the first one to detect the fat free versions of dishes:this one you can't tell). Try it yourself if you don't believe me. This recipe uses a store bought greek yogurt (which is strained) cutting the time to make this dish down by almsot 70 percent.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 small package 0% fat greek strained yogurt (look for it in your organic/health food section in the grocery store), cheaper variety is available in walmart in the yogurt aisle

5 to 6 strands of saffron, a little goes a long way, the picture shows more saffron because I had doubled the recipe
1 tblsp milk
3 tblsp splenda (or 4 to 5 tblsp sugar)
1 tblsp shelled pistachios, blanched and chopped

Lightly toast saffron. Add 1 tblsp warm milk to the saffron and let it sit.

Empty yogurt into a bowl. Add saffron-milk mixture and splenda. Blend with an electric whisker for a few seconds, the yogurt will become creamy. Add pistachios and mix. Refrigerate for atleast an hour. Mix well before serving. For amrakhand, omit saffron and reduce sugar or splenda by half. Add 4 to 5 tblsp of mango puree and blend.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Preeti's Goan Chilly Chicken

I have been bugging my family to send me some of their favorite recipes. Finally my sister Preeti sent me this one. It really is an amazing recipe. I do hope you try this one and let us know how you liked it.


8 Chicken thighs
1 small sized onion (roughly chopped)
2 one-inch pieces ginger (roughly chopped)
4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
6 Green chillies (chopped)
Salt to taste
4 tsps Lemon juice
1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tbsps Coriander seeds (dhania)
2 Red chillies (whole)
3 Green cardamoms
4 Cloves
1 inch stick Cinnamon
4 tbsps Ghee
4 tbsps Tomato Puree
¼ tsp Sugar
A few sprigs Cilantro (chopped)
1 tbsp Vinegar

Clean, remove skin and wash thighs. Drain thoroughly.
Make a wet paste of onion, ginger, garlic & half of the chopped green chillies.
Add salt and lemon juice and marinate chicken for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, red chillies, green cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. Grind to a fine powder in a dry grinder. (I strongly recommend Cuisinart’s dry grinder.)
Heat 2 tbsps ghee in a pan. Add marinated chicken & fry over high flame.
When the chicken is cooked a bit (it will turn slightly white, then pink-red), add the dry masala powder and mix well.
Add remaining ghee & tomato puree (I pureed one large tomato) and let it cook.
Add sugar, adjust salt and cook till the chicken is done.
Add the remaining chopped green chillies and coriander leaves.
Remove from heat, add vinegar, stir and serve immediately.
This goes well with rice if you leave a little gravy during the cooking, or else tastes great with fresh chapattis.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fish cutlets

This makes an excellent appetizer. It is again very easy to make and is ready in no time. In place of the tilapia if you use canned tuna, the prep time is reduced in half. I find the tuna smell too strong at times so I use tilapia fillets instead. This dish can be made with any other mild fish.


Potatoes 2 large
One onion chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic (1 pod)
2 Tilapia fillets
1 tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp garam masala
chopped cilantro 2-3 tblsp
olive oil 2 tblsp


Boil potatoes and cook till tender. Drain and remove all water. Cook fish by boiling fillets, drain and keep aside. If using canned fish, drain all water and add the canned fish to the onions. Heat olive oil with 1 tsp chopped garlic. add onions and saute till transparent. Remove onions into a bowl. Add fish, potato and all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl. Mash well together.

Form patties. If you're making this as an appetizer make small cutlets easy to pick. If you're making this as an entree make larger patties. Brush the tops and bottom of the cutlets with olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes till golden brown. Serve hot with ketchup or a chutney.

Potato Nest

Here's my entry for Sia's ode to Potato.Check it out at
I wanted to make a dish with the four ingredients I always have at home : onions, potatoes, tomatoes and eggs. I wanted the recipe to make something anyone can prepare, is fun to make and will be loved by kids. The idea for this recipe came from "The complete Vegetarian cookbook" by Chris Hardistry. I have changed the filling to suit my taste. This recipe makes essentially a bird's nest made with potatoes and the egg is cooked in the nest with a tomato sauce under it. This dish is perfect for the day after Thanksgiving as you can use the left over mashed potatoes. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Ingredients (Serves two)

3 large potatoes, cooked
2 tblsp butter
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 onions chopped, divide into two portions
One large tomato
a bunch of parsley
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam masala/all spice
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic chopped
Two eggs
grated cheddar cheese 2 tblsp


Mash the boiled potatoes with butter, salt and pepper (or use old left over mashed potatoes). In a pan heat oil with garlic in it. Add one chopped onion and saute till transparent. Add to potato mixture and mash well. Check taste of potato mixture to suit your taste (add more butter or condiments as needed).

Take a baking sheet and line it with foil. Grease the foil with oil. Place a large ball of the potato mixture on the baking sheet. Scoop out the center with a spoon and then shape the ball into a nest widening the opening in the center while keeping the outer ring intact. Make sure the center is wide enough to hold an egg and the bottom still has enough potato to hold a filling. Cover with saran.

Meanwhile in the same sauce pan heat oil and saute the other chopped onion till transparent. Add chopped tomato, spices, salt, pepper and parsley. Cook well till most of the water from the tomato is dried up to make a thick sauce. Add about 2-3 tblsp of the tomato mixture to the center of the nest. Break an egg op top of the sauce in the the nest. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the egg and add a tablespoon of grated cheese on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Slowly lift off the nest onto a plate using a wide flat spoon. Garnish the egg top with chopped parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve with a salad.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chicken lollipops

This week I had to rush over to Chicago to help my sister who was quite ill. After a couple of days of good rest she was feeling back to her old self again. To cheer her up I decided to make her favorite chicken lollipops. This is the first dish she eats when she visits India and oders it every other day from our neighborhood store "Tasty Bites". This Indian influenced chinese dish is very very popular in India. The original idea for this dish came from our friend Amit who made this once for us and it was delicious. I din't have his recipe so I searched online and combined a couple of recipes to make this dish and it was perfect. Although making the lollipops can be a pain, once in the groove you can get it done quite fast. Makes a really popular appetizer with kids and adults.


1 large package fresh chicken wings
6 pods garlic
one inch piece ginger
6 green chillies (not the very hot ones)
1 tblsp soya sauce
1/2 tblsp red chilly sauce
1/2 cup all purposeflour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 egg
1/4 tsp red food color
salt to taste
Oil to fry


To make the wings check out the first half of this youtube video. The recipe in this video is for some other type of lollipop but the method to make the lollipops is well depicted and easy to follow. Each wing, makes two lollipops.

Once the lollipops are ready, add them to a bowl. In a grinder finely chop ginger, garlic and green chillies. Add to the chicken. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Heat oil in a pot. Deep fry the marinated lollipops. Serve hot. You can see how much my little nephew enjoyed it.